Power outages can result in large sections of the electricity distribution system being affected – even though the problem may be isolated to just one small section. It takes time to identify the source, and as repair work takes place, customers want to get on with their daily activities.
Alectra Utilities (formerly PowerStream) has installed a new triage tool on a major part of its distribution system – one of the few distribution companies in North America to participate in such an initiative. Designed to pinpoint the source of the outage automatically and restore power sooner, here’s how it works:
- When an outage occurs, the ‘automatic isolation and restoration’ tool kicks in to isolate the section of the grid that is affected. Think of it as a tracking device engineered to zero in on outages that are caused by component failures on the distribution network (due to external conditions beyond our control, such as storms and car accidents).
- Before the device gets to work fixing the failure, it automatically sends a message to nearby power lines telling them to start routing electricity to customers in the section of the grid that is not part of the problem.
- Based on information compiled to date, Alectra Utilities estimates that with this new technology, power could be restored in minutes.
Any wonder this new technology is referred to as a ‘self-healing’ power restoration device?
No one can predict them, but when power outages do happen, everyone wants their power restored as quickly as possible. Automatic isolation and restoration technology cuts down on the time that customers are inconvenienced when an outage occurs.
Alectra Utilities estimates that when the new technology is completely installed, it will significantly increase system reliability of electricity to our customers.
What’s more, this technology significantly reduces the search time — and cost — to determine the location of equipment failures, allowing Alectra Utilities to make repairs and restore power more quickly than in the past.
Self-healing Grid Technology Case Study (576KB PDF)